The Allure of Awesome

Nicholas Quirke was lost to the awesome beauty of the mountain scenery he was travelling through on 14 June 2020., when a day trip to the Yanqing Scenic area opened his eyes to yet even more outstanding views in the landscape, forged 170 million years previously, that surround Beijing and the effect of such visual splendour left him breathless. There were so many geological wonders in the Designated Global Geopark area that they gave the day to driving and stopping, taking photographs and contemplating the magnificent artistry of Mother Nature. A blistering sun and blue sky added to the whole gorgeous panorama they were idling through. After winding their way up the mountain and finding the path through the Yanshan mountains and valleys they were in a geological wonderland with mountain sides of steep vertical strata, Jurassic silicified woods, karst landforms and caves, dinosaur footprints, and mountainsides rippling with intrusive and extrusive rocks to which flora, against all odds, grows and flourishes. A couple of misadventures kept them lively, including Peng scratching his brand new car and some local resistance to them trying to visit an ancient temple. Not to be deterred they found another temple which actually had an open air theatre with excellent acoustics and he wondered how his production with Cath, Peta, Penny, Joanna and Phoebe, of ‘The Nightingale’ would go down here. He took the opportunity to command the space for a moment with the sole onooker of a bored Peng. They visited caves , river banks, waterfalls and relished the beautiful clear couplers that nature was throwing out in the burnishing sun. For a moment Nicholas wondered if it was possible to be exposed to too much beauty, was there a possibility of him taking the world he was seeing for granted. Nature’s complexity of design made it impossible not to see beauty in everything from every tortured piece of rock, every drop of water in the lakes and rivers to every twisted tree and relentless weed there was an infinity of awe. He was always annoyed how the word awesome had trivialised by the most commonplace of events, it was a word he reserved for the truly extraordinary, and in his mind he was in that place and had experienced that day. “I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’ ” (Sylvia Plath). He felt exhausted by the time they were driving home and was pleased to have the lightest of suppers, a smoothie, and after reviewing travel plans in the light of the new COVID19 cases in Beijing, emanating from to sit and watch another horror, ‘The Babadook’, which he was surprised, on watching it again, that he had fell asleep on first viewing it some years ago. It was a creepy theme to go to sleep on, but sleep he did


  1. Awesome Indeed. Amazing, wonderful, stunning, astonishing and all other over-used superlatives apply. Except, maybe, wicked & sick. I hope you gave your dear old Lear to poor Peng. X

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